“A great responsibility”: Bishop-elect for Port-Louis Diocese in Mauritius on Appointment

Maurice Evenor Cardinal Piat (left) and Mons. Jean Michaël Durhône (right) after the May 20 press conference. Credit: Port-Louis Diocese

Mons. Jean Michaël Durhône, the Bishop-elect for Port-Louis Diocese in Mauritius has described his May 19 Episcopal appointment as “a great responsibility”.

Mons. Durhône, who was addressing journalists at a May 20 press conference expressed appreciation to Maurice Evenor Cardinal Piat for his 32 years of service to the people of God in the Indian Ocean Island nation.

“Pope Francis has called me to take responsibility for the Diocese of Port-Louis. I accepted with joy, knowing that it is a mission that I will learn to assume,” Mons. Durhône said. 

He described the appointment as “a calling”. He said, “It is a mission, a call, a vocation; it is a grace but also a great responsibility. It’s far from being a promotion, but rather a calling.”

“I was not born a Bishop; I would learn to be a Bishop. I will take the necessary time with each person but also with each Mauritian and each one of you,” the Mauritian Bishop-elect told journalists.


Reflecting on his appointment as the 12th Local Ordinary of Port-Louis Diocese, Mons. Durhône said, “It is the Church that chose me as a Priest. The Church also chooses its Bishop. It is not a choice on my part. I don't think that my father or my mother, who have passed away, would have come to Cardinal Piat to ask him to appoint me Bishop.”

“Some people recognize a good number of qualities in me, such as closeness or the ability to listen. For my part, I take life with humility and great joy,” the Mauritian Bishop-elect said.

Born in June 1973 in the Diocese of Port-Louis, Mons. Durhône was ordained a Priest for the same Diocese in August 2005 after completing his priestly formation at the Seminary des Pays-de-la-Loire in France’s Catholic Diocese of Nantes.

The alumnus of the Belgium-based Lumen Vitae Institute where he obtained a licentiate in Moral Theology, Pastoral, and Catechesis has been serving as Secretary General of the Episcopal Conferences of Indian Ocean (CEDOI).

Since his ordination to the Priesthood, Mons. Durhône has previously served in various positions, including Vicar of St. Louis Cathedral of Port-Louis Diocese; Diocesan Chaplain of the Young Christian Workers Movement; and Diocesan Head of Catechesis.

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In the May 20 press conference, Mons. Durhône said that Cardinal Piat will continue managing the Diocese until his Episcopal Ordination scheduled for August 20.

During this period, he said, “Other collaborators will have to explain the various files to me. Once this is done, I will journey with the other partners and those whom we will appoint, in order to be able to discern.”

“It is in journeying together that will allow me to see more clearly and, at the same time, to set priorities not only for the church but also for Mauritian society,” he said.

The 49-year-old Bishop-elect acknowledged the important place of the youth in the Church, saying, “Pope Francis emphasizes the need to form young people to be the leaders of tomorrow. They can take a new look at the Church. They are also our treasure.”

“We will try to train our young people so that they can experience happiness without necessarily using drugs,” he said, and continued, “There is a way to bring about certain training aimed at initiating our young people to live a life of true happiness.”


Also speaking during the May 20 press conference, Cardinal Piat described the Bishop-elect as “a man of peace and a man at peace.”

Mons. Durhône, the Mauritian Cardinal said, is “someone who is easy to talk to and has a good sense of humor.” 

“It is good to remind you that what Father Durhône has received is not an appointment but a vocation. It is not a job but a service for life. He must serve the Catholic community of Mauritius and serve the country,” the member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans/Holy Ghost Fathers) said.

Once Consecrated Bishop, Mons. Durhône is to administer as the 14th Local Ordinary of the Mauritian Diocese, which has an estimated population of 331,713 Catholics representing 26 percent of the total population in the Diocese, according to 2021 statistics.

The 1,882 square-kilometer Diocese that was erected as Vicariate Apostolic of Mauritius in June 1837 was elevated to a Diocese in December 1847.

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Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.